Waking up with the Kings: January 29 - LA Kings Insider

The Kings have four wins in their last eighteen games. I look at this stretch as two separate entities. First, there was the five-game skid that began prior to the Christmas break and leapfrogged the New Year. Though the offensive numbers took a hit at that time, the goaltending was equally as culpable. That December-January run represented the nadir of the Jones-Scrivens tandem that until that point had been playing exceptionally well. I find fewer faults in the current skid, which has developed as a byproduct of a hellacious compacted schedule, coupled with travel and significantly more challenging competition. This will be explained thoroughly in my LAKings.com feature that comes out today, but when seven of the team’s 15 January games are against teams that opened January 29th on top of their divisions, and coast-to-coast travel was embedded in an 8-games-in-13-days stretch away from Staples Center, the team’s not going to go 6-1-1. That’s not to say that a 2-5-1 is an acceptable record during this stretch – the team certainly doesn’t feel that way – but I do agree with Darryl Sutter that the current run of games has been “brutal,” and that the recent power play and offensive skid is linked with the mental challenges of playing two three-in-four-night sets over the last nine days.

Though “pivotal” doesn’t carry a great deal of weight in a game the Kings failed to score in, the Bisonnette-Nolan incident was an important moment that paid immediate dividends for the Coyotes, who greatly benefited from the officials’ largesse early in the second period. As noted last night, there’s no issue with the interference penalty assessed on Nolan. The concern is that the Kings ended up shorthanded following a situation in which Paul Bisonnette threw his gloves to the ice and attempted to initiate a fight with Nolan, who did not offer the retaliation necessary (at all?) to warrant an additional roughing minor. This fracas should have ended with four-on-four hockey. Los Angeles, which had opened the second period with sustained pressure and forechecking, and shots on goal by Trevor Lewis, Jeff Carter, Jake Muzzin and Drew Doughty 1:39 into the frame, instead was placed on a sham penalty kill. The Kings still had to kill the penalty, though – and Jonathan Quick let in his ugliest goal since rejoining the team following his injury.

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During Los Angeles’ four minutes of power play time, they tied Phoenix in shots, 1-1. After hitting a post and sustaining some pressure during the man advantage on Monday, the Kings were unable to sustain much of a rhythm on the second night of the back-to-back set.

Antoine Vermette is an excellent two-way center who remains among the league’s best faceoff artists and has been able to add to his two-way sense with an impressive 19-goal haul this season. His career high is 27, so it’s not as if there’s untapped skill that is only now being realized. But considering Vermette will cost the Coyotes only 3.75 million against the salary cap through next season, that Don Maloney was able to pry him from the Columbus Blue Jackets for a second round pick, a fourth round pick and Curtis McElhinney in 2012 represents one of the savvy moves by the Phoenix general manager in securing a Dave Tippett-type player. Vermette, who has won 56.1% of his faceoffs this season, is an excellent third-line center on a championship caliber team; on the Coyotes, he’s a quality second-line center who leads the club in goals. Vermette won only 7-of-19 faceoffs on Tuesday, though there are often good battles between Vermette and Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards and Jarret Stoll.


-Photos courtesy Christian Petersen / Getty Images Sport

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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.